Timeless Patina, Corvette Performance: The LT1-Powered ’55 Chevy Truck

Timeless Patina, Corvette Performance: The LT1-Powered ’55 Chevy Truck

Shay Brummer’s 1955 Chevrolet First Series pickup seemed destined to live out its days in an Oklahoma field. But in 2018, Brummer came to its rescue. Now, the truck features an LT1 engine swapped from a seventh-generation Corvette, while the exterior retains its classic patina style.

Restoration and Transformation
This spring, Brummer, who lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, attended the C10 Nationals at Texas Motor Speedway with the truck and his son, Cole.

“It’s old on the outside and new under the hood, on the chassis, and in the interior,” Brummer said at the event. “It’s all done very tastefully, kind of classic still, but with some of the performance and convenience of that modern drivetrain in an old truck.”

Brummer has built several vehicles, many featuring pristine paint, but the 1955 First Series is his first patina project. He found it much less nerve-wracking, with less concern about rock chips and other obstacles. His most recent build was a Chevrolet square-body pickup, but his wife preferred the classic 1950s style, and he had always wanted one himself. All of that led him to the truck in the Oklahoma field.

“It was partially disassembled; all the original sheet metal was lying within fifty or a hundred yards of the truck,” Brummer said. “There was a little bit of rust we had to fix, but we started with a pretty decent Chevy truck.”

Rare Find and Modern Upgrades
Chevrolet only produced the First Series for 1954 and half of 1955 before altering the grille and windshield, making Brummer’s truck a somewhat rare find. However, its state made it a good choice for a creative restomod project. Brummer had originally planned on swapping to an LS engine but ultimately decided to go the LT route.

The LT1 engine, introduced in the 2014 Corvette Stingray, began the fifth generation of General Motors’ classic Small-Block V-8 engine. It is capable of 460 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque, utilizing modern technology such as direct injection and continuously variable valve timing.

A crate engine version of the LT1 is also available from Chevrolet Performance and has been featured in countless performance builds.

“I was intrigued by how new it was, by the direct injection, and I had driven one of the Corvettes that had the motor in it,” Brummer explained of his choice to make the LT1 swap.

Technical Details
The transmission in Brummer’s truck is mated to a 4L60-E transmission from a Chevy Tahoe. He used a Chevrolet Performance LT-to-LS adapter kit to ensure the powertrain fit together properly.

Despite adding a modern powertrain to a truck nearly 70 years old, Brummer found he didn’t need to alter much.

“I didn’t have to trim anything. I was able to use some exhaust manifolds from Holley that fit right in there,” he said. “I didn’t have to cut a thing other than the tunnel slightly for the 4L60, which is why I went with it instead of [any] bigger transmission.”

Preservation and Customization
Brummer estimates the truck’s exterior is 85 percent the same as he originally found it. However, its years spent stranded in a field meant it was covered in dirt. Brummer and friends cleaned it all with Scotch-Brite, and he estimates nearly every fender has had some part repaired due to rust. Some of the less desirable paint was color-matched to the truck’s original Ocean Green, but much of the exterior maintains its natural patina with a mixture of green and blue from another of the truck’s lives.

While the exterior has a vintage look, underneath are more modern performance components. The vehicle is still on its original frame, but Brummer tore everything down as soon as he got it. He’s now added a TCI four-link suspension and sway bars in the front and rear, along with Ridetech coilovers all the way around. A boxed frame provides added stiffness, and a Ford nine-inch rear end helps handle the LT1’s added horsepower. Wilwood brakes provide the stopping power.

The truck originally sported black steel wheels with hubcaps and whitewall tires. Brummer maintains that same look today with 17-inch wheels from U.S. Wheels and Diamondback Classic tires with whitewalls added.

Interior Upgrades
The interior also looks classic but features numerous upgrades. It incorporates modern updates, too, with Snowden bucket seats, a Vintage Air system, Dakota Digital gauges, and a miniature Sparc steering wheel that is a replica of the OEM version. Brummer built and covered the door panels, headliner, and center console himself while utilizing rubber factory floor mats.

The Build Process
Throughout the build, Brummer did the majority of the extensive work himself.

“I did all the work with the exception of a friend who helped me with some of the chassis work, the welding, and fab work,” he said. “I had friends help along the way to acquire parts or repair sheet metal, and my brother painted the interior. It was all done in just a home shop.”

Background and Passion
Brummer is originally from a small Oklahoma town called Apache but moved to Edmond in his twenties. He is the national sales manager for an outdoor audio and lighting manufacturer, but the automotive hobby has played a major role throughout his life.

“I’ve always been a Chevy truck guy; my first car was a ’66 Chevy truck that my dad bought brand new,” he said. “My grandpa was in the auto body business, and I was always a big fan of cars.”

  • Engine: LT1 from a seventh-generation Corvette
  • Horsepower: 460 hp
  • Torque: 465 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel System: Direct injection
  • Valve Timing: Continuously variable valve timing
  • Transmission: 4L60-E from a Chevy Tahoe
  • Adapter Kit: Chevrolet Performance LT-to-LS adapter kit

Today, Brummer’s 1955 First Series is both a unique throwback to an earlier time and an example of cutting-edge performance. This blend of classic aesthetics and modern engineering showcases the best of both worlds, making it a standout at any event.

Source: Chevrolet/The-Block
This Article use tools from Chatgpt

Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.